About Us

History

The first gathering in San Francisco of Gay Pacific Islanders was in 1982, a group of young men and women decided to march in the San Francisco Gay pride parade. When the AIDS epidemic broke out in the mid 80’s many LGBTQ Islanders became invisible within the Gay community. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that we came together to form UTOPIA. SF

The United Territories Of Pacific Islanders’ Alliance (U.T.O.P.I.A) originated in San Francisco, California in March 1998. The organization was formed to provide support to Pacific Islanders LGBTQ Community and Allies.
Originally, the group identified themselves as GPAC (Gay Polynesians Alliance/California). In February 1998, the name was changed to U.T.O.P.I.A

The new name was better suited to represent the diversity of the club. U.T.O.P.I.A has been a support organization for LGBTQ Pacific Islanders and allies consisting of members from Cook Island, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa Tahiti, Tonga, and many other Pacific Nations.

Our Mission

To provide sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of  LGBTQ Pacific Islanders – through community organizing, community care, civic engagement, and cultural stewardship.

We recognize the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, culture, nationality, immigration status and all social systems. We work to build and bridge communities that welcome and affirm people to be their whole selves, honoring their multiple identities and life experiences. We work to fight systems of oppression that marginalize individuals and communities based on social identities.

We are committed to:

Accountability

Holding ourselves and others accountable for working against all forms of oppression.

Accessibility

Creating environments that are accessible to all identities with a focus on those most marginalized and oppressed in our communities.

Intersectionality

Centering our work on the impact and experiences of multiple oppressed identities

Empowerment

Empowering self and others through sustainable practices and collective liberation

Transparency

Being open and inclusive in our work and removing barriers to information access.

Founder & Board Members

Neo Veavea

Executive Director & Co-Founder

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  • 1975-1976 Attended De Loux School of Cosmetology and pass state board (License)
  • 1982 Organized the first Samoan contingent for San Francisco Pride Parade.
  • 1984 Worked in the Hotel/Catering Industry for 22 years
  • 1998 Co-founder the United Territories Of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA)
  • 2008 appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to the San Francisco District 10 Visitacion Valley Citizens Advisory Committee
  • 2009 Parent Teachers Association President
  • 2012 Appointed to the LGBTQ SF Human Rights Advisory Committee. Served one year.
  • 2017 Founded Hot Siva, Low impact aerobics, Stretching to Island music.
  • 2018 run for the board of supervisors in San Francisco.
  • 2019 Received RAMS Peer Counselor Certification
  • 2020 Appointed by Mayor London Breed to the Mayors Disability Council.

Joseph Taumua

Founder UTOPIA San Diego

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Joseph was raised in a family who put God First and everything else will fall into place. His values have always put others before himself as he was raised to assist others where he can. Joseph takes pride in his God, his family, his culture and his community.

In 2010, Joseph co-founded and chaired a chapter in San Diego, UTOPIA; United Territories Of Pacific Islanders Alliance. It’s mission is to provide Unity & Strength amongst society today but a platform for LGBTQ Pacific Islanders to be “Comfortable in their own skin.”

Joseph was also past President of the larger Pacific Islander Festival in the United States known as the Pacific Islander Festival Association of San Diego. An organization whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian cultures and traditions through songs and dances with an emphasis on promoting higher education for our Pacific Islander Youth.

Although Joseph has taken seats on many community boards for many organizations, he has also decided to get back into what he is passionate about, “Polynesian Dance!” He is currently the Assistant Artistic Director for Taupou Samoa under the direction of one of his mentors; a keeper of culture; an advocate for our Pacific Islander, Polynesian, Samoan Community – Aunty Kiki Sotoa Solia.

In closing, Joseph would like to share the word with all of you from the book – Joshua 1:9
“Be strong, be courageous. Do not be discouraged, worried nor terrified. For the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.” He is with me now and I will keep trucking along as long as he’s with me.

Thank you U.T.O.P.I.A. San Francisco for the opportunity to serve our community on a greater spectrum. I look forward to create and build a safe place for our communities even through these trying times.

Annette Moli

Social Media Specialist

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Annette “Nackie” Moli is the co-founder of PolyByDesign. You have probably seen her running around town with a microphone and camera in tow. She serves as an on-air personality, emcee, speaker, event corresponder and social media director. She is a mother of five, cancer survivor, and advocate for victims of sexual assualt. Deeply rooted in Samoan community and culture, she strives to build positive connections in an effort to lift up her community.

Lia Poasa

Grant Writer

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Lia Poasa was born in Pennsylvania, spent a few years in American Samoa, but grew up in Oregon. She moved to the Bay area 6 years ago for her job at UC Berkeley where she manages a research greenhouse facility. She is afakasi, the daughter of Foloi Poasa and Dr. Kris Hallenburg. She has two older brothers and cat named Patches. Lia holds a B.S. in (ecological and sustainable) Horticulture from Oregon State University and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She is currently a graduate student in the masters of community development program at UC Davis and will be attending part-time while she continues to work full time. Lia also serves as the grant writer and behind-the-scenes team member of Polybydesign. She brings a can-do spirit to the table and a lifelong connection to, and gratitude for, the LGBTQI community. She is grateful for the opportunity to offer her skills and experience to UTOPIA.

Sam Tialavea

Samoan Community Church Leader

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SAMUEL “SAM” TIKERI TIALAVEA SR.

  • Samoan Community and Pacific Islander Church Leader
  • Executive Director, Samoan Affinity Ministries Of America (S.A.M.O.A.) Inc.

Shortly after a major devastating crisis that historically impacted the whole of our Samoan civic in the Bay Area, Sam was born in San Francisco and was reared in a military veteran’s home during the early years of his upbringing in Daly City. Due to the inopportune closure of then Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard in 1973, Sam’s family had moved to Southern California, where he then spent most of his life, particularly in the City of Carson of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Notwithstanding the assorted variety of employment opportunities Sam held while growing up, positions ranging from financial services to community advocacy, he had always demonstrated a desire for Christian service; subsequently, he pursued higher theological studies in seminary following the successful completion of undergraduate studies in the United States and in Canada.

Immediately after completion of seminary training at Kanana Fou in American Samoa, Sam clearly heeded to the “calling” and began his long-time vocation in active Christian ministry and mission. For nearly three decades, he has served both in the local and national settings of church work: pastorates in Hawaii and California, as well as former General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, a transnational ecclesial denomination.

His extensive resume reflects much of his extraordinary personal and qualitative professional experience over the years. Amongst the list of paramount recognitions it is worth mentioning that Sam was the first Pacific Islander to be Global Moderator (2012-2016) of the world’s largest mission organization ~ Council for World Mission, headquartered now in Singapore (formerly in London); and, he is noted in Congressional records as the first-ever Samoan to be a Guest Chaplain to lead devotions for the U.S. Congress (January 13, 2010).

More recently, Sam and his family have settled in the Las Vegas area, where he continues to unreservedly cater to the overwhelming needs of our wider home-grown population through various means, anything from church-planting and ministry-resourcing to communal activism and family support. His ongoing fervor in working with and for “people from all walks of life” is well underscored by his natural ability to bridge the gaps of the yesteryears’ mentality and today’s temperament, profoundly applying his gifted wisdom of Samoan (and other Pacific Islander) cultural values in relationship

Carl

PolyByDesign

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